The Good: Absorbs odors, Surprisingly good flushability, Cats seem to enjoy it, Consistent clean scent from litter
The Bad: Mediocre clumping.
The Basics: Fresh Step Premium Crystals cat litter works better than I thought it would and is actually one of the better litters on the market!
As I get through posting the last reviews for which my cat Gollum contributed information, I find myself in an interesting emotional place. Gollum, who died abruptly in November (his last meal is reviewed here!), was (as it turned out) my longest non-familial companion and I missed him terribly . . . but not for as long as I thought I would. A month ago, I went to the animal shelter and an orange longhaired tabby picked me out. Elim will begin contributing to my blog with his feedback on cat-related products (along with the much more seasoned reviewer cat, Timber), a few products from now. The last non-cached review that Gollum is contributing to, though, is our evaluation of the Fresh Step Premium Crystals cat litter.
While I am not so keen to change up litters – I’ve found a few my cats love that work well and are affordable – my wife likes trying a lot of new things and she convinced me to get a couple bags of Fresh Step Premium Crystals cat litter. As someone who has had many cats, the fact that she had such a strong preference to trying the Fresh Step Premium Crystals cat litter with Timber and Gollum made me relent and change up our cat litter. I had been wary of the Fresh Step Premium Crystals based entirely on their look. The Fresh Step Premium Crystals look like little shards of glass or soap shavings. The average piece of litter was between 1/4" and 1/2" in “diameter” (diameter in quotes because the pieces are erratically-shaped – like shards of glass) and they are fairly homogeneous in their 1/16” thickness. Seeing the crystal litters for years, I thought that they would either be entirely ineffective or they would cut my cats’ feet! Fresh Step Premium Crystals did not cut up my cat’s feet and it was surprisingly effective.
If changing your cat's entire litterbox, one 8 lb. bag will fill an average litterbox to the 3" recommended depth. The litter flakes are bright blue, flat and they actually make a little tinkling noise when they are first poured into the litterbox. The first thing I noticed when we put the Fresh Step Premium Crystals cat litter into the clean litterbox was a surprisingly strong detergent smell. This litter has a clean, soapy smell that emanates from it and it lingered in the air for a good twenty minutes each time fresh litter was added to the box.
What happens when your cat uses the litterbox? Fresh Step Premium Crystals cat litter dissolves from the flat crystal form and clumps right up when my cats urinate. The mass becomes loosely solid within seconds, but the resulting mass does not filter well through a litter scoop. When Timber buried his clumps in the Fresh Step Premium Crystals-filled litterbox, he usually broke apart the clump. Gollum, by contrast, did not bother trying to bury his clumps and when that happened, I had to sift with the litter scoop and that usually broke apart the clump.
Either way, whenever Gollum or Timber urinated on the crystals, we knew instantly that we had to clean up their litterbox because the Fresh Step Premium Crystals emitted the strong soap smell again! Each and every time, no matter how old the litter in the box became, when the cats urinated, there was a not-unpleasant olfactory cue that it was time to empty the litterbox.
Ironically, the odor-neutralizing powers of the Fresh Step Premium Crystals cat litter worked to confound us when it came to Gollum and Timber pooping in the litterbox. While urine seems to activate the soap smell of the crystal litter, the crystals simply absorbed the odor from cat fecal matter. This was a (pleasantly) big deal for us because for the first year of Timber living with us, his poop smelled powerfully disgusting. Seriously, it was insane how bad his shit stank; there were stink lines coming off it (almost literally!) every time he pooped. But, the Fresh Step Premium Crystals absorbed his unearthly poop stink and helped improve the overall scent of our apartment as a result!
Fresh Step Premium Crystals cat litter did not encourage either of our cats to bury their poop, but it did all it promised as far as containing their urine and neither cat avoided the litterbox when this litter was in it (which I feared they would). While I might still prefer a litter with a little more clumping power, the Fresh Step Premium Crystals cat litter delivered for odor control in a way that makes it ideal for cats with smelly movements!
For other cat care products, please visit my reviews of:
Cat litter scoop
World's Best Multiple Cat Clumping Formula Cat Litter
For other pet product reviews, please be sure to visit my Pet Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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